U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

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Second Circuit holds that Vermont's attempts to regulate nuclear power are preempted by the Atomic Energy Act

August 14, 2013

The Second Circuit affirmed the District Court's decision that Vermont's Act 160 and Act 74 are preempted by federal law.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

September 07, 2012

NCLC urged the Second Circuit to uphold the District Court's decision that the Atomic Energy Act preempts Vermont's Act 160 and Act 74, both of which were enacted with the purpose and effect of encroaching on the exclusively federal regulation of nuclear power safety. In its amicus brief, NCLC argued that the Atomic Energy Act granted the federal government complete control of the safety and 'nuclear' aspects of energy generation. NCLC argued that overturning the District Court's decision would offer every statehouse in America a simple, one-step blueprint for talking its way out of the preemptive effect of federal law and otherwise immunizing laws from constitutional scrutiny and render the Supremacy Clause a feeble constitutional protection if a state or local legislature could cast it aside by the expedient employment of magic words. NCLC's brief warned that allowing state legislatures to by-pass federal regulation would needlessly subject state and regional nuclear energy providers to a patchwork quilt of regulations and grant undue power to state officials.

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